Spending a lot of time searching the web for latest govt jobs? Want to build your career in the public sector?
Well, I will not try to discourage you from doing that. But this article will try to break some myths related to work & culture in PSUs. So you can focus better on your job search.
What most people think we do in government jobs?
Okay, so this is what comes to the mind when we think of PSU or government jobs:
- AC cabins and cozy seats
- No Job pressure
- Time-bound lunches
- 9 to 5 job
- No targets to comply
What happens actually in public sector jobs?
These are like any other jobs. Government organizations work just like their private counterparts. They have reporting structures, revenue and operations targets, business strategies and competitive attitudes.
PSUs compete with other public sector and private companies selling similar products or services. Yes, the fight is severe and keeps the government sales officers on their toes. Discounts and promotions are commonplace to acquire both small and key accounts.
Central and State government administration employees try to compete with other states’ administrations and have a similar set of targets set by the State & Central governments.
Public sector units have meticulous business plans that can put many private companies to shame. PSUs align their targets with the GDP projections and the 5-year plan set by the government.
Even pure central government jobs come with their own set of targets. A district administration office runs like a mini-company. It provides hundreds of goods and services to people residing in it. They report to central and state governments.
PSUs, on the other hand, are autonomously run organizations that report to their respective ministries and to the Department of Public sector enterprises (DPE). PSU employees receive their performance incentives based on their individual performance (determined by their achieved targets) as well as overall company performance (as judged by the DPE).
If you are a diligent worker, you will find work both in public and private sector companies. Government organizations have huge volumes of work because of the large customer base they serve.
For example, it would not be unusual for an Oil Marketing Company (OMC) officer to have a portfolio of targets exceeding 4 types of products and customer base over 200,000. An officer deputed in a manufacturing setup, like an LPG filling shed, can easily turnaround tens of thousands of LPG cylinders per day, a job that requires great diligence and care.
Struggles are real
Government sector employees work hard. They may be allotted AC cabins based on the allowances, but they rarely enjoy this gift. The sales staff is on the ground making customers for the company and executing a lot of government initiatives. Manufacturing officers are in the plant taking care of safety, quality, performance, industrial relations, and resource management.
There are no automatic promotions. Even if there are any, they are slow and are mostly called ‘slow tracks’, which you would not like to be in. The ‘fast-trackers’ are the ones who get to the top, but they have to burn their midnight oil for that. The performance in top PSUs is judge through advanced Performance Management Systems, similar to those used by private companies.
I worked for a PSU for a long time. I rarely got a chance to have my lunch before 4 pm. I used to have heavy breakfast, or ‘brunch’ at 11 a.m., that used to take me through. Most of the lunches were working lunches, during which I used to finish some discussions. Most of my colleagues had a similar lifestyle.
9 to 5 job
If you get posted at headquarters, this may be true to a certain extent, but the workload is high even there. During your field postings, however, the workload can get enormous. You need to answer to customers, increase sales, maintain supply chain, respond to RTI queries, and many more things. We will keep those for a separte article.
PSUs have their own disciplinary action procedures that may lead to a ‘pink slip’, or lay off. Layoffs, however, are on a disciplinary basis and not on a performance basis.
So, are there any advantages at all?
Yes, indeed, there are many advantages of a PSU job.
Your boss can’t force you to comply with his/her wishes. You operate as per well-defined rules and regulations. And yes, you can have heated arguments with your boss without any repercussions, except maybe transferring you. Transfers are enjoyable – you get allowances and get to see many places. Either way, you get transferred every 3-5 years, so why not operate for what you think is right.
With great responsibility, comes great power too (Yes, the reverse is true). Though, my advice would be to not make it the prime reason for joining a PSU. Nothing corrupts your mind more than power. But with power, you can serve the people, and that is a blissful feeling.
If you are a good officer, people respect you very much. This is especially true in the Indian context, where people have huge respect for government employees.
PSUs align their business plans to the government’s 5-year plans. Thus, a PSU employee knows a lot about government’s plans and actions than others.